Butlin’s Archive Project Progress Update: August 2015

The Butlin’s project team set off for sunny Bognor at the start of July to meet with the Bourne Leisure (Butlin’s parent company) marketing team to discuss project progress and, of course, to sample the modern Butlin’s resort experience first-hand. HAT staff were suitably impressed with the stunning seaside location, as well as the quality of the accommodation on offer at the Ocean hotel and dinner at celebrity chef Brian Turner’s onsite restaurant. One highlight of the trip was a visit to the Bognor archive room ‘where it all began’ to meet with Butlin’s inspirational curator (and former Redcoat and Entertainments Manager) Roger Billington and discuss the transfer of the remainder of the Butlin’s Heritage Collection: HAT hopes to receive 3D material such as the iconic Redcoat uniforms, tannoys and a collection of branded merchandise later this year, when essential refurbishment and expansion work on HAT’s own premises at Raveningham has been completed.
HAT has also been working with Fitch, Bourne’s brand consultancy and recently hosted a visit from their design team who previewed some of their current creative thinking for the Butlin’s 80th anniversary next year. The Fitch designers were further inspired by a display of gems from the Butlin’s archive at HAT which includes railway posters, advertising brochures, entertainment programmes, branded stationery and photographs of Butlin’s early amusements and fairground rides.

Cataloguing and digitisation work is continuing apace: in recent weeks the HAT team have been working on the Butlin’s postcard and printed ephemera collection. One highlight of the extensive postcard collection is an album of mailing novelties featuring some charming retro images from the 1950s (lucky cats in baskets seems to be a favourite theme!) as well as examples of classic British seaside humour. In addition many postcards contain handwritten notes from holiday-makers which provide a fascinating insight into their experiences at various Butlin camps. The printed ephemera collection includes colourful membership memorabilia for the junior Beaver Club, Butlin’s branded match boxes featuring quirky art deco style designs, ‘Portrait Sketch’ souvenirs by Butlin’s cartoonists in residence and holiday camp menus.

Butlins postcards following conservation work at HAT

In mid-August HAT welcomed members of the Bourne Leisure team to explore further how the Butlin’s archive can inform forthcoming marketing and PR campaigns. Bourne are aiming to produce a promotional film which will introduce the HAT/Bourne heritage collection project to Butlin’s customers on resort and also demonstrate the value of HAT’s professional archive management services to corporate clients.

Keep an eye on HAT’s Twitter and Facebook pages for regular updates on project progress!

August 2015

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